The Arizona Capitol Times reports that about 60% of Americans have dental insurance coverage, more than there’s been in decades. However, almost 70% of seniors aren’t covered, according to an Oral Health America survey.
This is largely because Medicare doesn’t cover dental care, and because many employers aren’t offering post-retirement benefits, either. The Affordable Care Act, on the other hand, does offer dental insurance, but only if a subscriber purchases general health coverage first, which many seniors don’t require.
At the same time, the cost of dental care is on the rise. In 2009, the revenue of U.S. dentists ranged at about $109 billion, and by 2014, it’d reached $125 billion. Seniors often require more costly dental work, such as crowns, implants, and false teeth, which are on the rise, as well. It has been projected that the dental implant and prosthetic market will reach $6.4 billion by 2018.
Consequently, seniors are going to Mexico for dental care. Places like Los Algodones have Mexican dentists who speak English, sometimes even accept U.S. insurance, and offer dirt cheap prices for anything from routine cleanings to cosmetic dentistry.
One 56-year-old Alaskan native recently traveled the some 3,700 miles to Mexico to get his teeth taken care of. He needed his teeth raised, and a crown on every molar, work that’d cost about $65,000. Though he found lower rates at a dental school, the cost of having students do his dental work was still $35,000.
In Los Algodones, he paid just $3,000.
However, going to Mexico for dental care may be a little bit risky. Different countries use different types of equipment. Some products, such as dental implants, may not have warranties, and patients may not be able to sue for malpractice. The doctors there also need less schooling.
That being said, Mexican dentists also spend more time practicing clinical work. They also say that they practice the same safety standards, and their offices are just as clean as those of American dentists.